2008/09 Minnesota Wild Season Preview
1. Minnesota Wild – This may or may not surprise some people. Minnesota probably has the most underrated team in the NHL. From the net out they have a solid team that plays great but doesn’t really catch anyone’s eye, except for Gaborik of course.
Lead by Marian Gaborik the Wild have a good forward group with Andrew Brunette, Mikko Koivu, Owen Nolan, Colton Gillies, Krystofer Kolanos and Antti Miettinen. Young guys like Corey Locke, Benoit Pouliot and James Sheppard should have good years and Pierre-Marc Bouchard helps take some of the offensive pressure off Gaborik. Plus there’s the “Boogyman” Derek Boogaard who brings an automatic intimidation factor.
Just like the forwards, their defence doesn’t have anyone that jumps out but they play great together as a unit. Marc-Andre Bergeron, Kim Johnsson, Martin Skoula and Marek Zidlicky are all good offensive defenceman while players like Kurtis Foster and Nick Schultz keep things solid in their own end. Brent Burns had a very good season last year and will look to improve and have an even better year this year.
Niklas Backstrom showed last year that he can handle the pressure of being the go-to guy in net and Josh Harding is a great backup and can also step in if Backstrom goes down due to injury.
The Wild don’t have those names that jump off the paper like a Detroit or San Jose, but they do have some good pieces and play great as a team. They’ve always been one of the hardest teams to play against and I expect nothing different from them this year.